What time period is the colonial period?

For Africa and Asia, mainly the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Before that period, Europeans had many trading posts there and often wielded a lot of 'informal' influence, but rarely claimed whole countries as the 'posession' of their country.

In the Americas colonization started in the 16th century. Most countries there ended their colony status in the late 18th century (the US) or in the course of the 19th century.